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July 24, 2022

Why A Sponsor Is So Important In Recovery

Having a sponsor can make recovering from addiction less challenging. Even though you don’t need a sponsor to obtain and maintain sobriety, research shows that people who have a sponsor and follow their advice have a greater chance of staying sober. In addition to guiding you through the difficult days of early recovery, a sponsor can be a role model, letting you know that long-term recovery is possible. They can also help break down recovery concepts and terminology you may not understand and be there for you when you need them most. A good sponsor can be the difference between long-term recovery and continuing the cycle of addiction.

The Benefits of Having A Sponsor

Changing your life, habits, daily routines, and thought patterns can be frustrating, exhausting, and challenging. However, doing so is a key component of addiction recovery. Fortunately, sponsors can help ease this process. Because they’ve already overcome withdrawal symptoms, participated in therapy, learned new ways to cope, and maintained their sobriety, they can help guide, encourage, and support you as you recover. Ultimately, your sponsor’s goal is to reduce your risk of relapse and help prepare you for a lifetime of sobriety. But there are many reasons why sponsors benefit the recovery process.

1. They’ve Been Where You Are

Sponsors are full of wisdom. They have successfully lived through everything you’re currently experiencing. They have endured the challenges of addiction. They’ve dealt with relapse triggers. They know how life, stress, and unhealthy relationships can interfere with recovery. They understand the intensity of cravings and may have even relapsed. They’ve lived with unhealthy thoughts and distressing emotions. They’ve overcome trauma, healed past wounds, and have probably mended some strained relationships. Nothing you say, feel, or experience will surprise them because they have been where you are and know what it takes to overcome addiction.

2. They’re An Example of Success

Sponsors are proof that addiction recovery is possible. Having a sponsor that successfully lives a sober life can help you see that addiction doesn’t have to continue to control your life. While witnessing others struggling with addiction can make you feel hopeless, a sponsor is a constant reminder that conquering addiction is possible. Whenever the recovery process gets difficult and you find yourself wondering if you can go on, look to your sponsor for inspiration. Their story of how they’ve changed can remind you that you can also change for the better.

3. They Can Provide You With Hope and Strength

Throughout the recovery process, you may feel depressed and weak. You might even feel like a failure at times. Sponsors have experienced the same type of feelings and can help strengthen you when you’re feeling weak. They can also help you realize that you’re not hopeless or powerless and that setbacks don’t mean you have failed. Their stories of life before and after recovery can help give you hope, boost your confidence when you’re down, and teach you to approach recovery from an optimistic perspective.

4. They Can Provide A Listening Ear

At the same time, sponsors can be a safe place to turn to when you’re tired, frustrated, upset, anxious, depressed, irritable, or moody. They can comfort you and motivate you to keep going. They can express empathy toward your situation. They can be a shoulder to cry on and a friend to vent to. Having a non-judgmental person to discuss your recovery with can be difficult to find, but you can share your deepest thoughts and feelings with your sponsor without fear of judgement.

5. They Will Hold You Accountable

As supportive as sponsors can be, they will also hold you accountable. Even if you have the best intentions, you won’t always hold yourself accountable. You may overlook aspects of your life that need to change. A good sponsor will notice if you’re returning to old habits or isolating yourself from others. They’ll check in with you often and ask challenging questions. They’ll remind you of the work that’s required for long-term sobriety. And they’ll remind you of your recovery goals. Don’t be alarmed when your sponsor points out behaviors that don’t support addiction recovery. They are there to guide you and help prepare you for a life of sobriety.

6. They Can Help Keep You Grounded

A sponsor can help keep you grounded. Early sobriety can be an exhilarating experience. Detoxing your body and overcoming withdrawal symptoms may even make you feel temporarily invincible. While these positive feelings can be rewarding, they can also lead to overconfidence. Feeling too confident can cause you to neglect the 12-step process and other aspects of recovery, which, in turn, can lead to relapse. Luckily, a good sponsor will be able to recognize this and can help keep you in check when you’re feeling too self-assured.

7. They Can Help You Avoid (Or Support You Through) Relapse

Sponsors can help you avoid relapse by helping you see why certain behaviors, beliefs, or actions may not benefit your recovery. For example, you may want to move to a new city after completing treatment. That may seem like an attempt at a fresh start and a new life. However, moving to a new place can be stressful. You may not find employment right away. You may have to leave your support system. Sponsors won’t give you direct order but they can help guide you away from people, places, decisions, and choices that can lead to relapse.

Should you relapse, a sponsor can help you learn from the experience and help you get back on track. Going back to unhealthy habits can make you feel ashamed and guilty, but a good, trustworthy sponsor won’t judge you. They’ll encourage you to have an honest conversation about what led to your relapse and help you get back on the road to recovery.

8. They Can Connect You With Sober Resources

A sponsor can provide you with a wealth of addiction recovery and sober resources. For example, your sponsor can tell you about peer support groups that helped them or about sober activities in your area. They might connect you with aftercare support programs, employment opportunities, or help you find sober living. Some sponsors also share recovery literature, prayers, meditations, and coping strategies that helped them overcome addiction. Transitioning back into the world after recovery can be challenging, but having a sponsor share a wealth of sober resources with you can make the transition easier to handle.

9. They Can Become a Long-Lasting Friend or Mentor

A sponsor will be there for you through some of the most challenging aspects of your life. They will also be there to witness your progress and accomplishments, as well as your setbacks and challenges. This type of bond often lasts for a lifetime. Whether your sponsor becomes a friend or a life-long mentor, they will have seen you at your best and worst and may understand you better than anyone.

Want to learn more about the benefits of sponsorship in recovery and how to find the right one for you? Download our free guide to finding a recovery sponsor.

Helping You Live A Thriving, Substance-Free Life

Here at Meta, we believe in empowering and equipping individuals to take charge of their recovery. Having a sponsor can help you do just that. A sponsor can be a great friend, a role model, a non-judgemental listener, an accountability partner, and so much more. Our recovery experts can help you overcome addiction and connect you with a recovery sponsor. Let us help you live a thriving, substance-free life.